Not so typical college experience
This week marks the start of a new term. My second to last term (insert excited/shocked emojis). With only four classes left, I felt that it was time to share my journey of my not so typical college experience.
Sometimes I feel that those of us who never had a super passionate career goal since 1st grade (no one even knew what a biologist was in 1st grade) struggle to relate to those who decided to do the whole college thing the “right way”. Just remember, there is no right way. All that matters is you’re following your dreams even if it’s only one class at a time.
Let me tell you about my not so typical college experience:
This seems so, so long ago. I graduated high school in 2009 with a plan to attend Mount Wachusett Community College for my associates degree in nursing. My plan was to commute to school while working at a local coffee shop part-time. When the fall of 2009 came I was excited to start my college journey.
Unfortunately, after a handful of weeks I decided to drop out. I was working very early mornings and driving to class after. On my days that I didn’t have work, I had early classes. It didn’t take long for this to get the best of me. This was also pre idiopathic hypersomnia diagnosis – hello being tired 24/7! While my friends were out living the college life, I was a drop out with no plan.
At the time, I was working as a nanny but I knew I had to do something more. I needed a career that would provide benefits and a sense of security. After being a nanny for about a year, I decided to attend Hesser College to complete my medical assistant diploma. This was everything that I needed. The diploma program was 9 months long which made me feel that there was NO excuse to not finish. I graduated from Hesser College and a couple months later started my career as a medical assistant. Fast forward 3 years – I still didn’t feel satisfied with my career.
I was lucky to have a manager that became a mentor. She spent time with me talking about my strengths, my weaknesses and my future. The fact that someone I respected so much, could see a bright, successful future was beyond inspiring. Those who I worked alongside told me time and time again how I should become a nurse. I was never extremely excited by the idea but felt that it was a great opportunity. I was accepted to Rivier University‘s nursing program. This was everything that everyone told me I would want. But something deep down inside me was telling me this wasn’t what I was made to do.
After spending years working in the medical field I saw a reality of nursing. It wasn’t anything in particular that was pushing me away. There was a desire inside of me to do something different. To have a career that I always dreamed of but didn’t know if it was possible or even existed. After taking two course at Rivier University, I decided to change my major to business administration. I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do but I figured this was a step in the right direction.
It wasn’t too long after changing my major that it was highly recommended that I transfer to Southern New Hampshire University. I worked really closely with my advisors to find classes that would interest me and help me decide on a major that I could imagine having a career in. I started taking courses that allowed me to use my creative side. It felt so right and I was finally in my element. Choosing to be an online student was one of the best decisions I made.
When I decided to choose marketing as my major, I don’t think I knew what it consisted of. I knew it gave me an opportunity to be creative and be part of something that was always so interesting to me. Ever since I can remember, I always enjoyed marketing but never knew what it was. I was drawn to displays in stores and product packaging. I loved putting things together; from projects, outfits or home decor it was so satisfying to me. With each marketing class I took, I knew this was an industry I had to be part of. My mind understood marketing – just like some people understand math (definitely not me)!
9 years later. Here I am 9 years after graduating high school on a completely different path than I had imagined. A path that was made for me.
If you’re in high school, I’m not recommending that you do it this way. But what I want you to know is that it’s OK to not have a plan just yet. Some people already know what they want to do and it’s OK that you don’t. As you can see, my college experience brought me through different careers – all which gave me experience and knowledge to carry forward but also showed me what I didn’t want to do. Try new things, take different classes and focus on the things that inspire you.
If you have been considering to make the step to go back to school – do it. Remember, you’re not choosing a career right now. Find a school that will benefit you the most and speak with an adviser about the next steps. All you can do is take one day at a time. If you are considering completing your degree online, I highly recommend Southern New Hampshire University.
Sooner than later
The sooner you start, the sooner you will be done. Everyone knows this but when the end seems so far, we tend to push things off until it seems that it’s too late. Start your path now. It might be a long one but you can’t see what’s ahead unless you make the first step forward.
You’re not too old and it’s not too late.
Follow you dreams.